Ricard Rubio had a performance for the ages in Spain's thrilling 110-106 double overtime victory in the gold medal game of the Termosteps U16 European Championship in Spain.
Rubio, the tournament’s Most Valuable Player, tallied the highest total in FIBA Europe youth competition play this summer with an astounding 51 points, three of which came on a buzzer-beating half-court three-pointer that sent the game into overtime.
|The Spanish team and home crowd of 3,000 celebrated their gold medal triumph.|
The 15-year-old point guard had already collected two triple-doubles in helping Spain reach the final, including one in the semis against Croatia.
Rubio saved perhaps his best performance for the final though as he scored more than four times as many points as his next-best team-mate while handing out all but five of Spain's assists.
More than his individual numbers, Rubio's clutch performance helped Spain lift the gold medal. He scored 14 of the 51 in the two overtime sessions not to mention his end of regulation heroics.
With the game tied at 84 and four seconds remaining, Russia called timeout and inbounded the ball from half-court.
Teymuraz Babunashvili came off a screen and made a difficult three-pointer from the left corner to give Russia an 87-84 lead with one second to go.
With Russia celebrating their apparent gold medal, a running Rubio caught the ball at center court, double clutched in between two defenders and banked the ball in from half court to send the game into overtime.
It was the second time in the final seconds of the game that Rubio tied the game up for Spain.
After Boris Sprygin hit jumper down low with six seconds left to put Russia up 84-82, Rubio scored on a driving lay-up to tie the game at 84 with four seconds remaining.
|Rubio drove to the basket and scored to tie the game in the waning seconds of regulation.|
Following a Russia turnover, Rubio had a chance to win the game at the final buzzer, but his drive to the basket rimmed out forcing a second overtime.
Spain scored the first six points in double overtime on a jumper and lay-up from Rubio and a Julio Sosa basket to go ahead 105-99 with just over three minutes to go.
Russia fought back to 105-104, but Rubio broke their momentum by knocking down a jumper to give Spain a 107-104 advantage at the 2:29 mark.
The game would turn into a free-throw shooting contest over the final minute of play, with Russia hitting 2-of-4 and Spain converting 3-of-4.
Fittingly, Rubio would ultimately seal the game for Spain by hitting a pair from the charity stripe with 17 seconds left put Spain up four, 110-106.
Russia's Aleksandr Karpukhin misfired on a three and who else but Rubio was there to pull down his 24th rebound to ultimately clinch the dramatic victory.
As the finals seconds ticked off and the buzzer sounded, Spain celebrated their gold medal at half court in front of their joyous fans.
Sosa scored 12 points for the Spanish and Daniel Perez Otero added 11.
Babunashvili paced his side with 28 points, while Sprygin added 18 points and nine rebounds.
Sergey Okrasinskiy added 17 and six and Aleksandr Karpukhin 17 and three.
Ricard Rubio (ESP)
Ricard Rubio (ESP)
Dejan Musli (SCG)
Aleksandr Karpukhin (RUS)
Luca Campani (ITA)
Dino Muric (SLO)